Making smart use of your business software plays a major role in your ability to achieve your goals – the right intelligence in the right place at the right time with minimal cost. To ensure that you’re continually well supported, it’s important to remember that changes in your business should also lead to changes in your software.

Let your software vendor be your strategic partner
Given that most businesses have something to gain from reviewing how they use their business software, companies who see their supplier as a pure vendor are missing out. Fresh eyes can look past stubborn blind spots, encouraging management to break bad habits and critically evaluate processes and activities that should have been upgraded or adjusted long ago. A new viewpoint can stimulate broad reaching adjustments to strategy. It can also encourage greater flexibility, in turn boosting competitiveness and stimulating new growth. Think of your software vendor as a long term relationship, not a one off transaction party, and benefit from the wide range of experience they possess – the fertile ground for a productive ongoing relationship.

Good moments to get the ball rolling
Any business going through significant changes following marked growth or recession, diversification, a merger with or acquisition of another business or an internal re-organization should seriously consider reviewing how well suited their ERP system is to their new corporate environment. New competition on the landscape should also trigger a new round of questioning as to how a business can create effective new differentiation and release pressure on prices.

Uncertainty over new investment in software can also come about through changes in the personnel make-up of a business, particularly if high profile employees with wide knowledge and experience leave the company. Increases in applicable business legislation, including around employee health and safety can also be compelling events for the review of the corporate IT system. Whatever the change you’re dealing with, an expert review of your system can highlight any possibilities to better support the business based on unused capacity. A new situation does not have to mean a new ERP investment. And advice from your supplier is likely to be significantly better value than that from an external consultancy.

Boost your software ROI
ERP systems offer enormous potential to streamline business operations – provided they are correctly implemented, well matched to internal processes and fully understood by the people who are using them. However, businesses are continually evolving environments – adapting, growing, diversifying and reorganizing in line with the external conditions in which they operate. Given these ongoing changes, it’s important that software implementations keep up.

Without regular attention to how well-suited the IT set-up is to the current shape of the business, it’s likely that companies are missing significant opportunities to do things more quickly, more easily and more cheaply. Businesses need to take the time to look carefully with system experts, utilizing the specific knowledge and broad experience available from the software vendors themselves. Treat your ERP provider as a business partner, and there are genuine increases in ERP ROI to be realized.